As draft grades from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft began pouring in, there seemed to be a consensus among the masses. Everyone could agree that the Falcons needed a receiver, but just who that receiver should be created discourse.
By the time the Falcons took Drake London with the No. 8 overall pick, media members couldn't give the Falcons an A grade because other receivers like Jameson Williams and Garrett Wilson were still on the board.
With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the grades the Falcons received after the first round concluded.
CBS Sports: B-
Pete Prisco: "London is a big receiver, but he doesn't run that well. This is a team that needed to add more speed. I would have taken Garrett Wilson in this spot. He would have given them more of an immediate impact. London is good. But there were better options."
The Athletic: C-
Sheil Kapadia: "The questions are whether London will be able to consistently separate against NFL corners and whether he's capable of producing explosive plays. London did not run at the combine or at USC's Pro Day. He averaged a pedestrian 12.3 YPR last season.
London is a polarizing prospect. Given how young he is (turns 21 in July), there's certainly room for development. Maybe London will emerge as some version of Mike Williams or Allen Robinson. But if I'm taking a wide receiver in the first round, I want to be sold on speed and separation. I'm not there with London.
This could be one that makes me look foolish down the road, but I would have preferred Jameson Williams or Garrett Wilson here if the Falcons wanted to go wide receiver."
Chad Reuter: "London has been compared to Chargers WR Mike Williams. The former USC star's height and strong hands give him a large catch radius on the outside, which he was using to his advantage until an ankle injury ended his season prematurely. Pairing London with TE Kyle Pitts will cause major problems for defenses lacking size in the secondary.
London didn't run a 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day, which means the Falcons don't really know how fast he is. Regardless, Williams wasn't a burner at Clemson and still manages to win outside with regularity. Jameson Williams, who went 12th overall to Detroit, could end up being a better receiver, though it's hard to fault a team for not spending a top-10 pick on a receiver coming off an ACL tear."
Pro Football Network: B+
Cam Mellor: "The Falcons were bound to have an interesting selection in store at No. 8 overall, with plenty of needs to fill and plenty of talented players in play. In the end, they went with USC's Drake London, who comes off the board as the first wide receiver. It's a surprising pick, especially when players like Charles Cross and Jermaine Johnson II, among others, were on the board. But London is a worthy WR1 candidate in this class, and the Falcons' cupboard is completely bare at receiver.
London is my personal WR3, but he's right there with Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams. London has elite size at 6'4", 219 pounds, with 33" arms. He's a near-dominant contested-catch threat who was funneled targets at USC. He can box out defenders with his frame and snare passes in midair with rare focus. But in other phases, London holds up as well. He's an underrated route runner with lateral agility and nuance, and he has a great mix of agility and physicality in open space. His health in the immediate timeline is a minor question, but he can be a surefire X for Atlanta."
Fox Sports: B
Rob Rang: "In the first stunner of the 2022 draft, the Falcons eschewed their league-worst pass rush, instead, nabbing the best jump-ball receiver to pair with last year's star, Kyle Pitts. Often compared to fellow NFC South star Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, London offers the body control and strong hands to play the role of a security blanket for Marcus Mariota (or a quarterback soon to be selected).
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